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Game music for marching band (in-progress)


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I arrange music (not really remix like is the style on the forums here) for marching band, drum & bugle corps, and concert ensembles, and I'm looking for some suggestions on what game or games I should do next as a concept for a show.

I've already done a combination of Chrono Trigger and Dancing Mad from FF6 (I'll post an audio clip soon, it's in Finale instruments, so not exactly pretty sounding to the standards here).

Now this isn't quite marching band music like people think of, with Sousa typical marches, etc. This is competitive DCI and BOA style. Examples:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4810487702190909529 Ronald Reagan HS 2003, "Beyond Perimeters". 2nd place, Bands of America Grand Nationals.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3062662714710440078 Ronald Reagan HS 2005 "You Never Know", 2nd place Bands of America Grand Nationals

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8137625992685212973 Cavaliers 2002, "Frameworks". (Missing the Ballad for some reason). 1st place DCI World Champions, 99.150/100. Record score

So as you can see, electronics aren't out of the question, but they can't be the main focus. Any suggestions? Just looking for casual input.

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I should really arrange more vg stuff. Heck, I should arrange more stuff, period.

But, boooo BOA. I always had more fun watching the bands who didn't have all the money for the expensive props, and generators for their amps, synthesizers, and electric saxophones. It was all about the music, baby.

But yeah. Rainman DX and I put together the arrangement of Katamari on the Rocks you can find in my signature. I've also done the Metal Mario theme as a pep band piece, along with a crappy version of the Water level music from Sonic Rush. In non-vg-related-material, I did the theme to Snakes on a Plane. Unfortunately, I've only posted the one Katamari piece on my website, because I'm lazy.

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Thanks so far guys. The Halo 2: Earth City and "The Oath" from FF8 sound like really good ideas, I just need a lot of ideas that I can start combining things into one show.

Here's a MIDI of the show I arranged for Drum & Bugle Corps, with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6:

http://www.mygwd.com/QuadsTest.mp3

It's not totally complete (drum parts mostly, I'm not the best with writing for drumline), and it was my first full length arrangement.

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IMO

Any Super Metroid, Metroid Prime1&2, Chrono Trigger some FF and maybe even some Doom2 and Doom: Plutonia experiment tracks.

Oh yeah dont forget about LoZ Ocarina of Time, very important!! That game has some magnificent tracks.

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That Chrono Trigger/Dancing Madly arrangement you did for drum corps is pretty sweet. I'm halfway through it now.

Now if only the Blue Stars played that instead of

back in 2005. Hearing this show was going on tour would probably be enough to get me reinterested in DCI.
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So as you can see, electronics aren't out of the question, but they can't be the main focus. Any suggestions? Just looking for casual input.

Are you familiar with the Lunar series at all? The "Zophar's Domain" theme from Lunar: Eternal Blue would work out very well as a band arrangement.

We have a version of it at LunarNET:

http://www.lunar-net.com/media/music.php

(check "EB Zophar's Domain")

The reason I mention this is that, back in 1996, my Junior High band played a song called "Brentwood Overtures" that reminded me a lot of the Zophar's Domain theme. KF

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How about Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony from FFVII? That's a good marching tune.

Sounds good too. I'm also looking for some slower material, too. It doesn't have to initially sound like a march or a fanfare, it can be just about anything you want it to be. It's just what you guys would be interested in seeing put on a field, there's no limits

If the Cadets (DCI) can march the music of Björk, the Twilight Zone, Kill Bil, Original Music, and Vertigo all in the same show, that gives you an idea of the limits ;)

Edit: I really like the Zophar's Domain theme, and I think I'm going to use it. Anyone else, reviews on my drum corps piece of Dancing Mad?

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Edit: I really like the Zophar's Domain theme, and I think I'm going to use it. Anyone else, reviews on my drum corps piece of Dancing Mad?

That's good to hear! Zophar's Domain is probably my favorite non-vocal song from Lunar: Eternal Blue. There are some other really good orchestral themes, too, but I don't know if they'd quite work as a march.

Incidentally, if you're still open to suggestions, a few of the other themes from Lunar may also work as a marching arrangement. In particular, "Envoy of Justice" and "Field to Tomorrow".

Those are available at another part of LunarNET:

http://www.lunar-net.com/media/soundtracks.php

(Envoy of Justice is under "Lunatic Parade Vol. 2 Samples",

Field to Tomorrow is under "Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete (WD) Samples")

Anyway, re: Dancing Mad... It sounds like a pretty good arrangement. Thing is, since it's a marching band piece, it's a bit hard to assess quality just by the music alone. The transition around 4:05 seems a bit abrupt (like it's suddenly stopped), although that might work given what's going on on the field; around 6:24 it feels like the same thing. However, overall, I think the transitions between each of the different songs that are in there are done really well. Around 9:15 to the end of the arrangement also sounds a bit odd; I don't know if it's the different timing, or if it just sounds too slow/soft to end the piece with, but it contrasts with the preceding 9 minutes.

Anyway, I'm no expert, and I still think the arrangement is really good. Besides which, it's hard to assess its quality based only on a MIDI version, so bear that in mind. KF

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I think I've been a little vague on the style of arrangement I'd like to do, so here's a few examples:

http://www.yataforluda.com/shows/aqua.htm

http://www.yataforluda.com/shows/pureimagination.htm

http://www.yataforluda.com/shows/transitions.htm

http://www.yataforluda.com/shows/youneverknow.htm

Pretty much the style I'm shooting for. This guy is my favorite arranger for band stuff, but I really thin video game music is under-done. I've seen Mario music performed, and the music from Tetris (as part of a Russian themed show), and heard about a Final Fantasy show, but that's the extent of it.

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Sounds pretty good. What corp is this for? The vast majority of marching groups wouldn't have the arranger writing their battery parts, so I wouldn't worry about your skill writing that.

As a band guy and marching fan I really like this, but as a tuba player I think I hate you.

It sounds like this was written for a bad-mediocre band with half a dozen ringers on trumpet/horn. With very few exceptions I just hear sustained roots at a mezzo forte to fortissimo dynamic. It's mentally exhausting to memorize pages of tied whole notes, and then once it's memorized then I'm bored to tears. Seems like the neat low brass riff at the end just isn't a good enough cum shot to have to play through five minutes of roots. The low brass has some of the same issue. Maybe I just can't hear moving lines due to the Finale instruments?

Then again, who even listens to the tuba part...

I'd like to know when this show goes on the field.

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Sounds pretty good. What corp is this for? The vast majority of marching groups wouldn't have the arranger writing their battery parts, so I wouldn't worry about your skill writing that.

As a band guy and marching fan I really like this, but as a tuba player I think I hate you.

It sounds like this was written for a bad-mediocre band with half a dozen ringers on trumpet/horn. With very few exceptions I just hear sustained roots at a mezzo forte to fortissimo dynamic. It's mentally exhausting to memorize pages of tied whole notes, and then once it's memorized then I'm bored to tears. Seems like the neat low brass riff at the end just isn't a good enough cum shot to have to play through five minutes of roots. The low brass has some of the same issue. Maybe I just can't hear moving lines due to the Finale instruments?

Then again, who even listens to the tuba part...

I'd like to know when this show goes on the field.

There's moving tuba parts, but drawing from a Pipe organ, not many of the parts move, so I had to quote other pieces in there too (Second Suite in F, baritone passing to tuba quote). I've been working with it trying to make the parts a little more moving at the lower end. The high brass I'd love for this to be on the field, but I have to find a corps willing to play it, this was just done as a hobby. Plus, there's the issue of copyright permission if it was to be performed. I have NO idea how that works with this type of thing.

But I do plan to email around and see what some corps think of this as more or less a general guideline to a show, probably sticking with division II or III corps, because Div. I guys more or less would brush me away. Maybe it's worth a shot though, along with some international corps. Some Japanese drum corps would be good to contact probably.

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  • 2 months later...

I've come up with a show concept, and have about 1/4 of it done and ready to listen to. I'm looking for opinions, and will update periodically. One note, I do not write drumline parts. This would be left up to a band to get an arranger

1. Pre-show (Final Fantasy Prelude). http://www.tindeck.com/audio/files/edyw-Preshow.mp3

The pit moves equipment on the field and begins to play, as the rest of the band marches on. The woodwinds come in first, followed by low brass, then high brass. This is kind of an on field warmup, but sets the mood for the show.

2. Part 1 (Save Them! Final Fantasy 6) http://www.tindeck.com/audio/files/cgjn-Part%201.mp3

Suspended cymbal from the pre-show leads right into this. The audio file for this is incomplete, I'm still working on it, as I'm sure you can tell. The marimba/xylophone solo you hear will be augmented with drumline solos and accents at a future time, but not by me.

3. Part 2 (Aria di Mezzo Carratere, Final Fantasy 6) (No audio file)

A smooth transition into this, followed by piano and flute solo leads into the full band playing this ballad. Horn solos mixed in between provide an accent. A soft chord ending with a rising orchestra bell signify the end, and a transition into part 3.

4. Part 3 (Boss battle, Final Fantasy 6) (No audio)

Fast moving, exciting, and difficult woodwind solos lead into loud brassy powerful chords and excitement. This would be tuned for exciting visuals

5. Part 4 (OPTIONAL!) (Locke's Theme, FF6)

An optional part, signifying a happy end to the piece.

6. Tag Ending (Relm's theme, FF6)

Piano and flute solo come together as the band comes together in a spot on the field to reveal one last soft visual accent, as they play softer and finaly end in silence.

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